If you’ve visited San Juan Island in recent years, you may well have stumbled across an unusual store downtown, called Pelindaba Lavender. You won’t have easily forgotten it, because everything in the store is made from lavender, distilled from plants grown on a 20-acre farm north of Friday Harbor.
Started 10 years ago by South African-born Stephen Robins, more than 25,000 plants grow in neat rows on gentle valley slopes, with a pretty lake at the bottom. The harvest is protracted from July to September; some is bundled and hung in the Drying Barn, the rest is distilled for essential oils and turned into a wide variety of products that include skin care, bath, candles, lemonade, dog biscuits, and a whole lot more. What wasn’t made from real lavender is still about lavender: photographs, paintings, and jewelry. On the farm and inside the stores (there’s one at the farm, too, and another in downtown Seattle), everything is the color of lavender.
The name? Pelindaba is the Zulu word for “Place of Great Gatherings.” www.pelindabalavender.com.